Kentucky teachers fill state capitol ahead of controversial pension reform vote

A group of teachers gather outside the Senate chambers to protest Kentucky Senate Bill 1 a bill that proposes changes to the state funded pension system for teachers at the Kentucky State Capitol Friday

Kentucky teachers fill state capitol ahead of controversial pension reform vote

The state Senate made a decision to not take a vote Friday on a controversial bill that would overhaul Kentucky's ailing pension systems.

The Kentucky Senate was expected to vote on Senate Bill 1 Friday, but instead sent it back to committee, a move that surprised many on both sides of the aisle. He had planned to amend it with a substitute bill to carry out Medicaid expansion, as proposed in the House budget, as a way to allow Senate Republicans to vote on the issue outside of the budget.

Edwards noted that the next step for the bill is the conference committee where the House and Senate will come together to negotiate a final version of the bill. Just outside the doors, teachers hollered in delight when they heard the news.

The Virginia General Assembly will not adopt a state budget by its scheduled adjournment on Saturday, raising the likelihood of a special session to resolve an impasse over expanding the state's Medicaid program, budget leaders said Thursday. Teachers in Arizona and Oklahoma are considering similar action.

Supporters say the bill extends equality and dignity to people who identify with a gender that does not correspond with their biological sex.

Another bill would change penalties to make the criminal discharge of a gun within 1,000 feet of a school or place of worship eligible to be considered a terrorist act, the AP said.

Kentucky teachers are not fighting for a pay raise but are asking lawmakers not to change their retirement benefits. "You've given me feedback on what's important to us and they failed us".

"We've stood by and watched the federal government sit idly while innocent children continue to lose their lives", said Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) in a statement. "Everyone who has looked at this situation realizes pension really needs to be done" and senators need more time to study the bill. Currently, the system is 56 percent funded.

Owensboro Mayor, Tom Watson thinks there could be potential damage as the state tries to find other ways to fund the pension. "But it's not the pension we agreed to when we joined the profession", said Adam Hyatt, a teacher at Franklin County High School. One of them said earlier he thought the bill would pass the Senate and Friday's demonstration was aimed more at House members than senators. During a break, Senate Democrats, who only have 11 of the 38 Senate seats, tried to encourage the crowd.

On Thursday night, republican leadership was confident the bill would pass on Friday but the tone was much different on the senate floor Friday.

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